Book Review, Summary, Highlights, and Quotes from Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy The Odds by David Goggins
David Goggins will blow your mind.
He is a retired Navy Seal and the only member of the U.S. Armed Forces to complete SEAL training, Army Ranger School, AND Air Force Tactical Air Controller training.
David is a former Guinness World Record holder for completing 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours and has completed over 70 endurance races, regularly placing in the top five.
The dude is basically superhuman, and the further you read into this book, the more you begin to realize how weak, pathetic, and puny you really are.
But that’s ok because Goggins’ story is inspirational, and by the end of it, you will realize just how much more you (or anyone) can accomplish.
The first chapter of the book clearly articulates just how dark David’s early life was. That guy was fucking lucky to be alive.
Yes, I said fucking.
Get used to it too, because Goggins drops a ton of F-bombs in this book.
But like any hard motherfucker, Goggins knows that it’s not what you say, but what you do.
His life story is captivating and reads like a fictional novel at times.
There are many times I questioned a) if Goggins is human and b) why the hell anyone would do the things he does.
There is a ton of good in this book. It’s motivational. It’ll make you want to run through a damn wall by the time you’re done reading it.
But it’s not perfect. The end of the book is a bit of a letdown, because Goggins glosses over his failed relationships.
He glosses over the fact that if you hustle day and night for years and years, how much damage that WILL do to your personal life.
And while he is the first to admit just how badly he fucked up his personal life, I wish that he included more of that in the book. Perhaps that comes in his second book, Never Finished, but it isn’t in this one.
Even so, this is a great book that everyone should read – it just falls a bit short in helping to show people how to find balance.
But it succeeds in everything else it set out to accomplish. I highly recommend!
AR’s Book Score: 9 out of 10
Key Book Highlights from Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
David starts off the book by going through his early childhood in the first chapter with brutal honesty.
It wasn’t good, and David is really lucky that his mother took the action that she took to get the hell away from his father.
But that sets up the fact that even those born in the worst of the worst circumstances, can overcome a hell of a lot.
David’s mental health was so bad as a teenager, that he couldn’t focus, didn’t know how, and could barely read.
And yet, Goggins overcame everything. And his life story is a true inspiration for others.
At the end of each chapter, David lays out a challenge each of us can take from his life.
Each of us can face our demons. Each of us can work our asses off to be better. And David shows us how with concrete examples.
Here are the challenges each of us can take on, whether or not you read this book:
- Challenge #1 (Limiting Factors): What are the current factors limiting your growth and success? Write them all down in minute detail and don’t be bland.
- Challenge #2 (Accountability Mirror): Write all your insecurities, dreams, and goals on Post-Its and tag it all up on your Accountability Mirror.
- Challenge #3 (Get Uncomfortable): Write down all the things that you don’t like to do or that make you uncomfortable. Now go out and do one of them, and then do it again.
- Challenge #4 (Taking Souls): Choose any competitive situation you’re in right now. Boss, teacher, coach, client, etc. Now earn their respect with excellence.
- Challenge #5 (Armored Mind): Choose any obstacle in your way, or set a new goal, and visualize overcoming or achieving it.
- Challenge #6 (Cookie Jar): Write down every achievement and life obstacle you’ve ever overcome, even things like quitting smoking or overcoming depression or a stutter. Then use this list as your cookie jar, when you need a pick-me-up and reminder that you are a badass.
- Challenge #7 (Remove the Governor): Push past your stopping point. Whether you are running on a treadmill or doing a set of push-ups, get to the point where you are so tired and in pain that your mind is begging you to stop. Push just 5 to 10 percent further.
- Challenge #8 (Log Your Time): This is a three-week challenge. During week one, simply track your time. Then analyze your week, and trim the fat. Week two, build the optimal schedule. Week three, optimize it some more.
- Challenge #9 (Uncommon Amongst Uncommon): Torch the complacency you feel gathering around you. Continue to put obstacles in front of yourself, because that is where you will find the friction to grow stronger.
- Challenge #10 (Face Your Failures): Start by writing out all of the good things, that came from your failures. Be detailed and generous with yourself. Did it affect your life and your relationships? How so? Now go back through and make a list of things you can fix, but don’t be soft or generous. Be brutally honest, write them all out. Lastly, study them, and schedule re-dos on anything that makes sense.
Best Quotes from Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
The truth is we all make habitual, self-limiting choices. It’s as natural as the sunset and as fundamental as gravity. It’s how our brains are wired, which is why motivation is crap”– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
If you have worked for thirty years doing the same shit you’ve hated day in and day out because you were afraid to quit and take a risk, you’ve been living like a pussy. Period, point blank. Tell yourself the truth! That you’ve wasted enough time, and that you have other dreams that will take courage to realize, so you don’t die a fucking pussy.”– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
If you look in the mirror and you see a fat person, don’t tell yourself that you need to lose a couple of pounds. Tell the truth. You’re fucking fat! it’s okay. Just say you’re fat if you’re fat.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
Whoever you’re dealing with, your goal is to make them watch you achieve what they could never have done themselves. You want them thinking how amazing you are. Take their negatvity and use it to dominate their task with everything you’ve got.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
Until you experience hardships like abuse and bullying, failures and dissapointments, your mind will remain soft and exposed. Life experience, especially negative experiences, help callous the mind.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
Remembering what you;ve been through and how that has strengthened your mindset can lift you out of a negative brain loop and help you bypass those weak, one-second impulses to give in.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
Even if you’re feeling low and beat down by life right now, I guarantee you can think of a time or two when you overcame odds and tasted success.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
We are all leaving a lot of money on the table without realizing it. We habitually settle for less than our best; at work, in school, in our relationships, and on the playing field or race course.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
I’ve learned that it’s only when I push beyond pain and suffering, past my perceived limitations, that I’m capable of accomplishing more, physically and mentally.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
Sadly, most of us give up when we’ve only give around 40 percent of our maximum effort. Even when we feel like we’ve reached our absolute limit, we still have 60 percent more to give!– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
Because we will feel empty, like we have no more to give, we haven’t tapped even half of the treasure burried deep in our minds, hearts, and souls.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
Our culture has become hooked on the quick fix, the life hack, effeciency. [..] If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
No matter what you or I achieve, in sports, business, or life, we can’t be satisfied. Life is too dynamic a game. We’re either getting better or we’re getting worse.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
Did I hang my head in shame and misery? Fuck no! To me a failure is just a stepping stone to future success.– David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me
More from David Goggins
- Website: davidgoggins.com
- Twitter: @davidgoggins
- Instagram: @davidgoggins
- Facebook: @iamdavidgoggins
So ironic that you wrote this review now as I literally just finished reading the book a few days ago. I totally agree with your review. Major failing is not addressing the failed relationships (and his relationships with his own kids stepkid). But otherwise a fascinating autobiography/story. And it’s mind blowing not only what he’s accomplished, but what his daily routines have consisted of.
That is too funny! While I am super impressed with what he’s accomplished, I can’t help but feel that achieving this level of greatness comes at a great cost. And while I wanted him to address a bit more, I can see that he is trying to inspire people and probably doesn’t want to highlight that too much.
I do think all of his challenges in each chapter are a great way to face your failures, build up a caloused mind, and take your life to the next level. Anyone who actively works at it will most definitely be in a better place after.